Acne isn’t just a problem for high schoolers. While it may dissipate for some college students, for others, acne can linger or even worsen. Not only does bad acne affect the quality of your skin, but it can also impact your confidence. So what can you do if you find yourself with frequent blemishes? Here are six ways you can start to improve your skin and your life today.
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If you want to use a more heavy-duty solution right off the bat, give medication a go. Acne medication can be very effective if you find the right kind for your skin. These meds can be broken up by three different active ingredients: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. Benzoyl peroxide targets bacteria, salicylic acid reduces inflammation, and retinoids dry and unclog oily pores.
You may find that one kind is more effective than others. So experiment with them, and see what works for you. You can even get your acne treatment online and consult with an online medical professional for a smoother process. Take daily photos to track your progress to see whether or not a particular treatment is really working. Remember it will take time for your skin to adjust to treatment.
Stress can make your acne worse. When your mind and body experiences elevated levels of stress, your hormones can become unbalanced. This may cause the sweat glands in your body to produce more oil than usual, potentially causing more acne. When you are stressed, you may also develop some anxious habits. For example, you might pick or scratch at acne you already have, exacerbating the issue.
Stress not only negatively impacts your skin, but numerous other areas of body health as well. So no matter what, it’s important to relax a little bit more. You can destress in numerous ways, from going on brisk walks to meditating to keeping a gratitude journal. Keep in mind that everyone’s path to peace is different. What may work for someone else may not work for you, and that’s okay.
Clean Your Room
When was the last time you changed your bedsheets? Dirty sheets and pillowcases are prime culprits for causing acne. Dirt, oil, and old shed skin builds up over time on fabric and can clog your pores. So make sure you’re changing your sheets at least every two weeks or less.
Vacuum and get some fresh air into your room while you’re at it. Dust accumulates on all sorts of surfaces — chairs, desks, books, and lamps. Vacuuming gets that dust off easily reachable surfaces, and opening a window helps circulate the rest. You can make an air current by opening a door across from your window. Both you and your skin will be breathing better once all that latent dust is out of the picture.
This is a tricky one, especially in college. You’re likely surrounded by the social temptation to stay up late and enjoy the nightlife. And, sometimes, you should! But if you find yourself constantly breaking out, you might want to rethink your sleep schedule.
Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress levels, which, as mentioned earlier, can facilitate breakouts. While it’s not realistic to get great sleep every night, you can do your best to ensure you do sometimes. Pick a few days a week, preferably in a row, and commit to going to bed at a regular time.
You’ll likely still get invitations and experience peer pressure to go out those nights, but don’t be ashamed to reject them. By saying no, you’ll be saying yes to clear, rested skin. Plus, now that you’ve got nice, clean sheets you might as well make good use of them.
Drink More Water, Less Alcohol
An additional positive side-effect of saying no to a night out is that you’ll likely be drinking less alcohol. And while alcohol doesn’t directly affect your acne, it affects factors that do. Alcohol stunts your liver’s ability to process toxins in your body. Drinking also imbalances hormone and blood-sugar levels and decreases the quality of your sleep. On top of that, alcohol also dehydrates you, which can lead to more skin problems than just acne.
What should you drink instead of alcohol? Water! It may seem plain, but water composes up to 60% of the human body. So your body systems, including your skin, will function better with the more water you drink. Watch how as you drink more water, your skin becomes clearer, less wrinkled, and glowing.
Eat Clean, Look Clean
Just like you want to monitor what you’re drinking, the same goes for what you’re eating. Highly processed or sugary foods can cause hormone imbalances and lead to increased acne. Too much dairy can have a similar negative effect as well. Decrease your intake of foods that are harmful to your skin and opt for healthier, cleaner foods instead. Eat foods plentiful in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Not all campus dining halls are bad, but they can provide easy access to lots of sweets and processed foods. Be selective with what food you eat in your cafeteria. Alternatively, if your dorm has a kitchen, forgo the dining hall altogether and start cooking. In addition to giving you more control over what you eat, it’s a great life skill to develop. That said, the dining hall can be a hub of social interaction on campus, so pick and choose your battles.
No matter how you choose to improve your skin health, the most important thing is to be thoughtful about it. Medication might work for some, while healthier living might work for others. However, all of these methods are strengthened by each other and using them in tandem will increase their effectiveness. Keep in mind that your acne may not fade entirely until you get a bit older, if ever. But any investment in your well-being now is one that might last a lifetime.